The director of a Suffolk roofing firm has been fined for safety failings after he was caught on camera using a power tool while balancing on the ridge of a house roof. Anthony Nightingale was filmed using a petrol-powered disc cutter to cut through a tile while he and an employee worked on the roof without any measures in place to stop them being from falling.
The director of 3A Roofing Ltd was prosecuted by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) after a member of the public spotted the unsafe work at Dennington, Suffolk in July 2011 and reported it to HSE. Ipswich Magistrates’ Court was told Mr Nightingale, 34, failed to use a suitable roof ladder to reach the ridge and instead he and his employee were seen clambering up and down the tiles.
They were seen walking along the ridge where there were no measures in place to prevent them from falling off the roof. Anthony Nightingale pleaded guilty to a criminal breach of the Work at Height Regulations 2005 and was fined £1,300. He was also ordered to pay £3,000 in prosecution costs. Speaking after the hearing, HSE inspector Elizabeth Fowle said: ‘Mr Nightingale should have led by example, but instead he put his own life and the life of an employee at risk.
Fortunately no one was injured on this occasion, but it is astonishing that Mr Nightingale thought it was acceptable to use a potentially dangerous piece of machinery while perched at the top of the roof. This case should serve as a warning to other company directors that if you work without the right safety equipment and put lives at risk, you could end up in court.’
LST Comment: We are continually reporting that falls and falling objects are the high risk hazards that account for more immediate deaths that any other in the workplace. All work at height should be planned and undertaken by competent operators. Those planning therefore need to ensure that those undertaken are; adequately trained, briefed and supervised. Directors should take heed and lead by example; a poor safety culture can undermine any positive safety schemes, rules or arrangements that may be in place or developed. That one short moment can not only destroy a positive culture, but could lead to a fatality.